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Johan Cruyff's Reaction to Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez Penalty Shared by Friend

Dutch football legend Johan Cruyff looks on during a press conference to announce the collaboration between Johan Cruyff Institute and Autonomous University of Barcelona ( UAB ) to jointly develop activities of teaching, research and social solidarity, in Barcelona on November 19, 2015.  / AFP / JOSEP LAGO        (Photo credit should read JOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images)
JOSEP LAGO/Getty Images
Rory MarsdenFeatured ColumnistFebruary 16, 2016

Lionel Messi's penalty tribute to Johan Cruyff was watched by the great man himself as he continued his lung cancer treatment, according to the Dutchman's friend, Tatxo Benet.

The Argentinian pulled off an audacious penalty assist in Barcelona's 6-1 thrashing of Celta Vigo on Sunday, side-footing from the spot for the onrushing Luis Suarez to complete his hat-trick, as the Leo Messi fan account showed on Twitter:

It was a routine that bore a striking resemblance to Cruyff's cheeky exchange with Jesper Olsen when playing for Ajax against Helmond Sport in 1982:

The former Barca star and manager was reportedly "excited" to see the move repeated, with Benet tweeting (via MailOnline's Pete Jenson): "Johan Cruyff watched the penalty live on television and was excited by it."

The 81st-minute goal put Barca 4-1 up, and they found two more goals to complete an emphatic win and move, once again, three points clear at the top of La Liga. 

Accusations have been made that the move was disrespectful, a claim rejected by Bleacher Report's Dean Jones and Sam Tighe:

For many it was simply another display of genius from one of the greatest players of all time.

Barcelona manager Luis Enrique's defended his players, per Javier Miguel of Sport: "In this country a kick [on a player] is accepted more than flicks and tricks."

Enrique's side look well on track for another La Liga title this season, and perhaps even a successful defence of their Champions League trophy.

Cruyff led Barca to their first European Cup triumph back in 1992.

The 68-year-old was diagnosed with lung cancer last October, but he recently gave a positive update on his condition, per Jenson"After several medical treatments I can say that the results have been very positive, thanks to the excellent work of the doctors, the affection of people and and my positive mentality."

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